Ms. Chai Tanbin has made an impact on several thousand art students, one husband, a private number of lovers, and some millions of visitors to various art galleries, museums of modern art, and trendier offices.

She has made exactly two perfect paintings, and approximately one dozen more that come close.

It is on a summer afternoon that the brush falls from her fingers. She is found one hour later, by someone who counts among that private number of lovers. Ms. Chai’s eyes are vacant, mouth open as if in surprise, arm underneath at an awkward angle, deep blue paint dabbed on her chin.

On the canvas are three flowing strokes of indigo: the beginning of the third perfect piece.